Thetford Town manager David Skipp speaks to Darrell Allen about the team’s first season in the tier seven Norfolk Women and Girls Football League (NWGFL) Division One (3/6/22).
Above: David Skipp (blue baseball cap) speaks to his Thetford Town squad this season. Photo: Richard Brown.
Thetford Town have had a fantastic first season in the tier seven Norfolk Women and Girls League Division One, finishing in fourth place.
Manager David Skipp outlined to me the clubs’ thoughts pre-season as they approached their maiden Division One adventure.
“Due to a restructure of the Norfolk Women and Girls Leagues, the team was placed into Division One for the first time. There was apprehension around the squad not knowing how they would gel going into the new season or if indeed we had the quality to compete at a higher level as we were entering into the unknown.
“The apprehension was short-lived as we embarked on a pre-season programme against higher league opposition which helped our preparations.”
Thetford Town got the season off to a flyer winning their opening three games which included a double over Long Stratton and success over North Walsham. David reflected on those opening encounters.
“The season got off to a flyer with the ladies winning their first three games and going to the Christmas break unbeaten, returning after the festive break we had a few key players pick up injuries, and at one point the team had no recognised defenders.
“This said, the group plugged away to produce battling performances, but results didn’t go our way. Gaps between games due to weather postponements helped with the recuperation of some of the players and slowly one or two began to return for the run-in.”
The team started to put a little run together and fought hard to secure themselves fourth spot at the end of the campaign to the credit to the whole squad of which every player played a part.
David emphasised his pride in the staff he has brought in this season as well as the sponsors and people who have supported the club to ensure the season was a success.
“Off the pitch, the team were bolstered by Amber Browne coming into a coaching role and this helped the ladies gain structure to their play. With Amber on board, the team are in good hands moving forward.
“Darrell, you obviously also came in to bolster our media coverage including introducing us to Impetus, and what a fantastic difference this has made, the profile of the club has risen and has helped us when injuries hit.
We were able to dual sign players. I would like to thank King’s Lynn Town, Wroxham, and Norwich City for all their help. Not forgetting my assistant manager Stuart Terry who works tirelessly behind the scenes attracting sponsors raising the profile of the club in the community and the main role being my right-hand man.”
“Talking of sponsors, I would like to thank our kit sponsors Beez Leisure along with Silver Fern Ceremonies and Chilterns for their continued support along with the many tracksuit sponsors who individually sponsored a player. Your support goes a long way in helping the team run whilst giving our players an identity so thank you from all of us at Thetford.”
The biggest part of the football club is of course the players, and David acknowledged his debt to them.
“My biggest thank you goes to all the players that have pulled on the Thetford shirt and given 100% commitment. Without them, there is no team, and they should all be proud of what they have achieved as a squad.
“From the first training session to the last game, I cannot fault anyone one of them, and to finish fourth is a testament to how far they have come not only as a team but as individuals. The whole squad has been fantastic, we’ve had laughs, we’ve had squabbles, but we have always stuck together and that is what has made it an honour to coach them this season.
“As for next season watch this space! Who knows what we could achieve but our players have set a marker and the hard work begins again during preseason which begins on 20th June.
“My thoughts in September 2021 were ‘let’s stay in the league and build on that’, my thoughts at the end in May 2022 were ‘what a squad’ and to finish fourth is what is meant as teamwork.”